Having values at the heart of all of your SOPs should create a culture of quality practice within your hotel/resort. The Oxford dictionary defines ‘values’ as: ‘principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life’.
Ask yourself these questions and try to reflect on them. How have you defined your core values and what do they mean in practice on a day-to-day basis to the little guests? Do they make sense to all your staff (including those who do not directly work with the little guests, such as maintenance and housekeepers)? How do you promote and share these values to your current and prospective guests, ensuring they are confident that the little guests are as important as adults? Do you incorporate your values into the day-to-day activities, experiences and environments that you offer to your little guests?
When visiting hotels/resorts I have noticed that when there is insufficient clarity surrounding continuity of values, this does not form a firm foundation for the SOPs, especially in the kid’s clubs. This usually results in staff feeling confused as the goal posts are frequently being moved, usually to placate the guest and nearly always compromising health and safety.
There have been examples of an SOP being compromised without any discussion or explanation to the staff team, following a comment or complaint made by a guest. This demonstrates to me that the hotel/resort is unclear about how to implement its core values whilst delivering their service. On occasion these changes are almost a knee-jerk reaction and actually contrary to the philosophy of the hotel/resort.
SOP’s are a protection plan, protecting the guests, staff and the company. They have to work for the service you are providing especially in the kid’s clubs. Once they are in place, representing your values and providing the foundations of your hotel/resort, they should be delivered with conviction. Whenever there is a health and safety or quality issue, you can investigate which SOP’s were not being utilised and solve the problem, in contrast to adapting the SOP to temporarily make the problem go away whilst possibly leaving the service vulnerable and in particular your little guests.
Caring for children (your little guests) is one of the most responsible services you provide. So why is it that this department is usually an afterthought, something you feel you have to have rather than want to provide. The percentage of overheads they cost you is minimal compared to the profit they generate, which is nearly always reflected in the lack of investment in the kids club and the service it provides. In my experience most kids clubs reflect 3 to 4 star services and provisions, hidden away in a 5 star establishment.
By investing not only in the environment but the team and specific training as a whole you are recognising and delivering an inclusive service which is equal to all guests. As adults, it demonstrates that little guests are a priority, will be protected and are welcome and planned for. Once this investment has been made, the most important aspect is making sure that everyone throughout the hotel/resort from top management downwards fully comprehend the SOP’s and reflect these in practice, especially whilst providing care for your little guests.
Emma Young, Learning and Development Co – ordinator, <span class=”notranslate”>Worldwide Kids</span>.